Why Hire Skilled Immigrants, the Non-Profit Sector Perspective

Because of Canada’s aging population and the scarcity of young workers, tapping into the full range of talent in the Canadian workforce — especially the currently underutilized skills of new immigrants — is an urgent priority for the non-profit sector.

A survey conducted by the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector (HR Council) in 2008 found that that 39 per cent of the non-profit workforce is aged 45 or older and there aren’t enough young people available to replace these departing boomers.

Skilled immigrants, who have been selected by Canada as best equipped to meet the needs of our economy, can help make up the labour shortfall and their skills and experiences can help your organizations succeed.

Demographic Shift

In 2006, immigrants represented 19.8 per cent of the population and are expected to make up one-third of the workforce by 2031, at which point they will also account for all of Canada’s net population growth, according to Statistics Canada.

But non-profit organizations employ very few skilled immigrants, with just 1.8 per cent of the sector’s more than 1.2 million employees self-identifying as landed immigrants as part of the HR Council’s 2008 Labour Force Survey.

However, about 60 per cent of 347 non-profits surveyed by the HR Council in 2010 say hiring newcomers is important and 49 per cent have some kind of plan in place to do so.

Immigrants Highly Educated and Skilled

Immigrants bring many valuable skills and experiences to Canadian non-profits. For one, they are more likely to have a post-secondary education than Canadian-born workers. In 2006, 36 per cent of immigrants aged 25 to 54 had at least a bachelor’s degree compared to just 22 per cent of their Canadian-born counterparts.

Skilled immigrants also bring new and different expertise to an organization, improving problem solving and boosting innovation and creativity. Their international skills, experience and languages can also help local non-profits link to new global and domestic opportunities.

A diverse workforce that includes skilled immigrants will also make your organization more reflective of the communities you serve. They can help you better understand ethno-specific markets and develop networks and relationships with these populations because they share common languages and cultures.

To learn more about the business case for hiring skilled immigrants, visit the Business Case section of the website.

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